To any parent, their child is stunning.
My six-year-old daughter has the most adorable freckles sprinkled across her nose, the most beautiful red hair, the most expressive blue eyes…
But, of course I think that. Love blinds parents to any perceived imperfections in their children. We are the people who, our kids can be sure, will always be bolstering their physical self-esteem.
Until we’re not.
Summer Wilson is 17. She’s gorgeous, and not only to her mum, Lisa.
But Summer hated her mouth. She kept complaining to her mum that she had no top lip, it was making her look weird, and different from her friends.
And eventually, Lisa had to agree.
Listen to Lisa and Summer talking to Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo on This Glorious Mess about what happened next:
Summer decided she wanted to get lip fillers. For someone under the age of 18 to get a cosmetic procedure, they need their parents’ permission.
And, most likely, their credit card.
Lisa says she did try to talk Summer out of it, at first.
“I thought ‘You’re beautiful. You’re perfect the way you are, it’s not necessary to do that.'”. But ultimately, “I had to agree that yes, her lip was a lot smaller than she would like.
“I think she’s perfect, but really what matters is how Summer feels.”
And so she agreed.
I cannot imagine ever making that decision. I cannot imagine ever telling my daughter that she needed to “fix” something about her self. I can’t imagine thinking that it’s a good message to teach my daughter that she should change her physical appearance, rather than learn to accept it.
But, if there's one lesson that parenting teaches you, it's that YOU KNOW NOTHING.
Raising children is an ongoing exercise in adjusting your expectations. Things you vow you will NEVER do with your baby - feed them packaged food, let them play with the iPad, have them sleep in your bed - you learn to let go.